Thursday Halolinks: A much needed day off from the suck

Only thing missing is a fishing pole. - Lisa Blumenfeld

The Angels will have Thursday off, giving fans a day free of baseball suckage.

I used to hate when the Angels had an off-day in their schedule.  I would think, "Okay, now what am I going to do?"  But after the disappointment of this season, getting a day off from the suck will be kinda nice.  And just how bad has the suck been?  The club is now 18 1/2 games out of first place.  They have lost 4 straight and 8 of 10, and are now 16 games below .500.  Yeah, not your typical Angels' baseball we've grown accustom to over the last 5 or 6 years...

  • Here's another sad fact: Cleveland Indians at Los Angeles Angels - August 21, 2013 -  "The Angels, a team that entered the season with lofty World Series expectations, only started four players -- Mark Trumbo, Josh Hamilton, Erick Aybar and Peter Bourjos -- who began the year as regulars. The Angels began the day without a .300 hitter in the lineup, and their lone offensive contribution came from Hank Conger, who laced an RBI double in the sixth inning."  Remember that time in Cleveland when the Angels had all NINE of their batters hitting over .300? Yeah, that was neat.
  • The Angels haven't been hitting that bad, they're 4th in the A.L. in batting, but the problem has been timely hits and double plays.  The higher batting average has led to more men on base, but the team leads the league in hitting into double plays (121), and it's not even close.  The next highest total is 110 from the Tigers, but the difference between those two teams is the ability to drive in runs as Detroit has batted .289 with 71 home runs with men on base, while the Angels have hit just .252 with 46 homers.  And this might be the reason for the difference: Cleveland Indians vs. Los Angeles Angels -  August 21, 2013 - ESPN.  "Justin Masterson leads all qualified pitchers with a 59 percent ground ball rate this season. The Angels as a team have hit grounders on 47 percent of their balls in play, the second-highest rate in the AL this season."  What's also interesting is the Cardinals are leading baseball by hitting into 124 double plays, but have also outscored the Angels without the benefit of outslugging them.  The Cardinals have hit an insane .316 with men on base, but have hit just 3 more home runs than the Halos.  The higher batting average obviously has resulted in more runs -- that .316 batting average has led to 562 runs, compared to the Angels' 478.
  • And Jerome Williams hasn't been pitching that badIndians 3, Angels 1 - Yahoo! Sports.  "Williams (5-10) didn't pitch poorly, giving up two runs and six hits in 6 1/3 innings, but his winless streak continued. He is 0-8 with four no-decisions in his last 12 starts. He hasn't won a game since June 12 at Baltimore, and he hasn't won at home since May 21 against Seattle."
  • Sometimes it cracks me up when either a writer is paying attention, or just doesn't care: Los Angeles Angels at Seattle Mariners - August 23, 2013 -  "It's the start of an extended stay away from Los Angeles for the Angels, who play 23 of their 36 final games on the road after the Indians swept them at home with a 3-1 victory Wednesday night. As their offense finally begins to click, the bullpen has spelled disaster for the Angels of late, giving up a ninth-inning run to the Indians Wednesday after folding Tuesday by allowing three runs in the 14th inning of another eventual loss. "  Offense beginning to click?  The team has scored four runs in their last 3 games.  And the bullpen has actually been okay.  The run it gave up yesterday was inconsequential, while it did an okay job in the extra-inning game.  Oh, and yesterday's game was an afternoon game, not a night game.  Anyway, this is pretty cool: " Angels slugger Mark Trumbo has been one of the Majors' most productive players in August. Though Trumbo finished 3-for-4 in Wednesday's loss, Trumbo has homered in three of his last five games and has driven in 20 runs in August, third most in the Majors behind the Yankees' Alfonso Soriano (22) and the Tigers' Miguel Cabrera (21). He's hitting .324 with four homers and a triple in his last eight games, on pace to surpass his career highs for homers and RBIs set last year. Trumbo's next homer will be No. 30 and would make him the first Angel with back-to-back 30-home run seasons since Vladimir Guerrero did it from 2004-06."
  • Yeah, what's the hurry: Eligible to come off DL, Kendrick not yet activated -  "He plays a position where you need to move, you need range," Scioscia said. "Even if he was just DH-ing, you have to be able to run at a certain pace, and we want to make sure that he gets there before we're putting him out there and make sure he can do what he needs to do before we put him out there."
  • Albert Pujols of Los Angeles Angels expects to return strong in 2014 - ESPN Los Angeles.  "It was a joint decision, by the GM [Jerry Dipoto], the owner [Arte Moreno] and both the team doctors and trainers," Pujols said. "I was supposed to miss six to eight weeks and then come back, but they told me they would rather have me rest and return fully recharged next season. "We didn't only consider this year, but also the remaining eight years on my contract."
  • Anyone miss Torii HunterTorii Hunter scores from second base on strikeout, passed ball  - Yahoo! Sports.  "Hunter, who was charging hard to third base after the pitch, rounded the bag and never stopped running when he saw the throw go to first. He knew with Doumit out of position there would be no one would covering the plate, and he was able to touch home before anyone on Minnesota's infield could react. Though he won't be credited with a steal of home, that's essentially what Hunter was able to do. And he did from second base on a strikeout — which makes it sounds even better — though with the undeniable assistance of the passed ball."
  • Ladies and gentlemen, the next Angels' manager: Cal Ripken, Jr. as Nats skipper? - Comcast SportsNet Washington.  "I don't know. I've been asked to interview for managing jobs before, not too long ago," he said. "And I've always thought, if you have no interest in taking in then you shouldn't go through the process. But I'm curious as I'll get out there, what questions are they going to ask? What baseball quiz are they going to give me that I can't answer? So to me it's interesting."
  • Pretty cool website, except it pointed out to me the Agnels will still be paying Vernon Wells $19M next season: LINK: Visualizing the Changes in MLB Payrolls - FanGraphs Baseball.  "Basically, it takes player and team payroll information from Baseball Reference and puts it into a set of interactive charts that lets you see the variance in MLB payrolls among teams by year, as well as seeing the building blocks for each team in each year.:"  here's the site: MLB Past and Future Payrolls
  • Two of the top 10 are Angels!  Oh, wait...FORMER Angels: Identifying Baseball’s Most Unhittable Pitches, So Far - FanGraphs Baseball
  • Remember Mike Napoli and his women?  Porn star Rachel Starr is excited to hang out with Mike Napoli - Larry Brown Sports.  "Thanks to the wonderful world of Twitter, Napoli’s postgame plans have become public. On Tuesday afternoon, porn star Rachel Starr tweeted that she is excited to be hanging out with one of her very close friends after the game in San Francisco. That friend is Napoli."
  • I don't usually offer endorsements for products.  One, who the hell am I to give an endorsement, two, usually the stuff a company wants me to mention are lame.  However, this is something I really like, combining baseball and art: RareInk - Angels - MLB

    Check it out, or not.  Whatever.

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